What appeared to be a contribution to a local candidate from a local union was really a contribution by the union’s political action committee.
The website opensecrets.org and the Federal Election Commission’s website (fec.gov) lists campaign contributions. Both show Bryan Caforio, a Democrat who’s running for the 25th congressional seat currently held by Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), as having received $10,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or IBEW.
However, only the FEC site shows it’s from the IBEW PAC, with a Washington, D.C. address. Open Secrets only shows the donation from IBEW. This seemed to confuse SJ Granai of Palmdale on Facebook. She had seen a post that listed who contributed to whom.
“I was kind of shocked when I read that IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electric Workers) had given Caforio a donation. Mainly because I had been told they were going to remain neutral until after the primary,” she wrote. “So I had my discussion with them and Local 11 said that no, they did not have anything to do with that donation. They are sticking with the plan of staying neutral. … I think the article was very misleading. It made it appear as if IBEW backed Caforio. They left out ‘PAC’ after IBEW. Not Caforio’s fault.”
In fact, Caforio campaign manager Nicole DeMont said, Local 11 (based in Pasadena) did not endorse Caforio. It was Local 40, based in North Hollywood (there is no IBEW Local in Santa Clarita; locals 11 and 40 are the closest).
“Labor unions can’t give the money directly,” DeMont said.
That’s not true for federal elections. According to The Morning Call, IBEW Local 98 in Philadelphia has given $25.6 million in various political races since 2000.
But just because a local union endorses a candidate does not mean money is coming. According to DeMont, “99 percent of the time, they give through the national PAC. … It’s totally standard.”
Campaign finance rules allow such an organization to give no more than $5,000 to a candidate for the primary election and $5,000 for the general election. IBEW’s PAC has given Caforio the maximum $10,000, DeMont said.
According to Open Secrets, the IBEW PAC has given more than $1 million to various candidates, including $10,000 to 38 House and three Senate candidates in this cycle.